Today is the World Book Day – a suitable time to publish the long-postponed post about the books of my life.
This was not the first book I read (or that someone read to me). It was, however, a book that I vividly remember always carrying around. I don’t know how many times I read the stories of all these children; I do remember their faces, where they lived (in a castle? wow; in the jungle? that’s so cool!), what they liked to do, to eat, how many brothers and sisters they had, their favourite toys. I connected more with some; found others quite arrogant (was I jealous of that swimming pool and tree house? Probably!) I surely must have thought that some of them had very different lives from my one, but, mostly, I remember wanting to experience all the distinct foods, and plays.
Those faraway countries started to be part of my bucket list (even though I had absolutely no idea what a bucket list was). 8 year old me had no idea what international relations was and that, one day, she would study that topic, visit and meet people from even more countries then I thought. I secretly wanted to be part of that book too, sharing my story with the other children. That did not happen (yet)…
Children just like me (Meninos Iguais a mim in Portuguese) was a book published by UNICEF (by Barnabas and Anabel Kindersley) in 1995. Reading it had a big impact on me; it is, certainly, one of the most important books in my life.
More importantly, it is still as relevant today as it was then. Learning about “the others” makes them less “others”. It does not change the differences, it enlarges our world perspective and helps us understand its complexities.